Ljubljana – Slovenia’s senior politicians and the country’s members of the European Parliament (MEPs) took to Twitter to express condolences upon the death of David Sassoli, the president of the European Parliament, who died this morning, labelling him as a great democrat, and a proud and sincere European.
National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič said he was honoured to have been able to work with Sassoli during Slovenia’s EU presidency in the second half of last year.
Prime Minister Janez Janša said, “We are sorry at the death of President Sassoli. At this difficult moment, our thoughts are with his family and friends.”
President Borut Pahor labelled Sassoli as a great democrat and a sincere European. “Upon the death of European Parliament President and my dear friend David Sassoli, I express condolences to the family and the European Parliament on my own behalf and on behalf of the Republic of Slovenia.”
The Foreign Ministry said that it was deeply saddened by Sassoli’s death, and labelled the late official a man who strongly believed in Europe and “our common future”.
“Sassoli’s death is a big loss for our European family. Our thoughts and compassion are with his family and those closest to him,” the ministry said on Twitter.
Defence Minister Matej Tonin, the leader of New Slovenia (NSi), said that “we have lost a proud European who epitomised the true values of united Europe”.
Slovenia’s MEPs have also expressed their condolences, with Sassoli’s S&D colleague Tanja Fajon saying her heart was broken. “The European Parliament has lost a true leader, democracy and the rule of law have lost a champion, and I have lost a dear friend …”.
“Grazie, Presidente, for your unrelenting faith in united Europe and for everything good you have done for Europe and all of us,” tweeted MEP Milan Brglez (S&D).
MEP Ljudmila Novak from the EPP wrote that Sassoli “strongly believed in unified Europe where democracy is the key value. As an ex-journalist, he was a strong fighter for the freedom of expression.”
Franc Bogovič (EPP/SLS) paid tribute to Sassoli as a “great man, exceptional politician, professional colleague, correct leader, wise thinker, accessible friend, unifying European and true president”.
Condolences were also expressed by Klemen Grošelj and Irena Joveva (Renew). “A sad day for the European Parliament and the EU at the much too premature death of a dedicated and resolute fighter for a better Europe at these demanding times for all of us and for our institution,” wrote Grošelj.
“We have lost a convinced democrat and a true European,” tweeted Slovenia’s European Commissioner Janez Lenarčič.
Sassoli died in hospital in Aviano in Italy last night at the age of 65, after he was admitted on 26 December due to a serious complication with his immune system, while he also had health problems before. His term of European Parliament president was to expire next week.